Drop tower

A drop tower or big drop is a type of amusement ride incorporating a central structure or tower. Drop towers vary in height, passenger capacity, lift type, and brake type. Many are custom-made, although there are some mass-produced designs. Riders experience free-fall initially, followed by rapid heavy deceleration.

With most drop towers, a gondola carrying riders is lifted to the top of a large vertical structure, then released to free-fall down the tower. Brakes activate to slow the gondola as it approaches the bottom of the ride. Some designs expand on this concept with features such as rotating gondolas, or several bounces before coming to rest.

Most drop towers require child riders to exceed a minimum height; limits vary widely depending upon the nature of the tower, with a 30-foot (9 m) tower for smaller children from 37 inches (95 cm) tall,[1] and a 115-foot (35 m) tower having a 51-inch (130 cm) restriction.[2]

Drop towers use a magnetic braking system to slow the carriage quickly and smoothly once it reaches the bottom of the tower. This system is fail-safe because magnets do not need to be powered by electricity or other sources; they work intrinsically by the laws of magnetism.

Drop tower designs

Mass-produced tower rides include:

Tallest vertical drop towers

Rank Name Park Location Drop height Structural height Manufacturer Record holder
1.Zumanjaro: Drop of DoomSix Flags Great AdventureJackson, New Jersey, USA415 feet (126 m)456 feet (139 m)IntaminJuly 2014 – Present
2.Lex Luthor: Drop of DoomSix Flags Magic MountainValencia, California, USA400 feet (120 m)415 feet (126 m)IntaminJuly 2012 – July 2014
3.The Giant DropDreamworldCoomera, Queensland, Australia377 feet (115 m)390 feet (120 m)IntaminDecember 1998 – July 2012
4. Highlander Hansapark Sierksdorf, Germany 338 feet (103 m) 394 feet (120 m) Funtime
5.Blue FallSea ParadiseYokohama, Japan328 feet (100 m)351 feet (107 m)IntaminN/A
La Venganza del EnigmaParque Warner MadridMadrid, Spain328 feet (100 m)377 feet (115 m)S&S WorldwideN/A
6. Donjon de l'Extrême Nigloland Dolancourt, France 312 feet (95 m) 345 feet (105 m) FuntimeN/A
7.Falcon's FuryBusch Gardens Tampa BayTampa Bay, Florida, USA310 feet (94 m)335 feet (102 m)IntaminN/A
8.AtmosFearLisebergGothenburg, Sweden300 feet (91 m)381 feet (116 m)IntaminN/A
9.Hurakan CondorPortAventura ParkSalou, Catalonia, Spain283 feet (86 m)330 feet (100 m)IntaminN/A
10.Drop TowerKings DominionDoswell, Virginia, USA272 feet (83 m)315 feet (96 m)IntaminN/A
11.Drop TowerKings IslandMason, Ohio, USA264 feet (80 m)305 feet (93 m)IntaminN/A
Big TowerBeto Carrero WorldPenha, Santa Catarina, Brazil264 feet (80 m)328 feet (100 m)IntaminN/A

Other notable examples

Injuries and accidents

  • Following the Kentucky Kingdom (then-Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom) incident, all Intamin towers were temporarily closed and the Carowinds model was found to have stretched cables.[3]
  • On February 24, 2012, 14-year-old Gabriella Yukari Nichimura died in an accident at Hopi Hari, Vinhedo, São Paulo State, Brazil. She fell from the drop tower ride "La Tour Eiffel" suffering cranial trauma and died on the way to the hospital. Local police are investigating the accident. Initial investigations suggested the possibility of mechanical failure in the restraint latch.[4]

See also


  1. "Ride with 95cm height requirement". Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  2. "Ride with 130cm height requirement". Archived from the original on 2016-04-03. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  3. "Carowinds Thrill Ride Closed for Inspection". (Wire Report). The Herald Online. June 22, 2007. Archived from the original on 2016-02-08. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  4. "Adolescente more após acidente em parque de diversões no interior de SP" [Teenager Dies after an Amusement Park Accident in the Interior of SP] (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2012-02-24.
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